NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein is constantly talking to NFL and college sources about players in the college game. In this space each week, Zierlein will share some of what NFL folks are discussing in their circles.
The scoop: "I like Patrick Mahomes but I've seen him a couple of times this year and he doesn't look like he's getting any better. I think he's being hurt by that play-calling and offense. It's like he's playing a different sport (in Texas Tech's offense), so projecting him won't be easy. Who is he going to be with a running game and better protection? That's what you have to figure out." -- AFC scout on the Texas Tech QB
The skinny: Mahomes, a junior, has been one of the low-key favorites of more than a few evaluators who have studied him and most of those scouts are attracted to his arm talent and confidence. He leads the FBS in passing yards (3,313) by a wide margin, which isn't surprising given how much he's throwing the ball. I haven't seen enough tape to comment on the play-calling, but Texas Tech has lost three consecutive games and Mahomes has attempted 194 passes over that stretch, including 88 attempts last weekend against Oklahoma. He's thrown just 8 touchdowns in those 194 attempts, which is an unimpressive total and might lead scouts to question his efficiency as a passer inside the Red Raiders' offense.
Projecting quarterbacks from the "Air Raid" offense that Mahomes plays in has proven to be a difficult task over the last decade. Mahomes is an impressive talent with the attributes NFL scouts look for in a QB, but he still has to fight off the "system quarterback" label that has been attached to so many QBs that have come that type of offensive system.
* * *
The scoop: "People beat up Cam (Robinson) all the time but I wonder what they will say when they watch his film against (Texas A&M DE Myles) Garrett. He was good against Garrett. He's not perfect, but he's going to be a good starter in the league. I would probably try him on the right side." -- NFC scout on the Alabama OT
The skinny: I'm one of those analysts who beat Robinson up a little bit in the privacy of my own film room because I want to see more growth and consistency from him as a pass protector. While Robinson, a junior, hasn't had an eye-popping season at left tackle, he's still the top player at his position in college football and his excellent performance last week against Garrett, one of college football's top players, only helps his cause. Robinson won't always be the cleanest from a technique standpoint when it comes to protecting the passer, but when teams turn on the Texas A&M game, he's going to earn praise for his work.
* * *
The scoop: "You can see the athleticism and talent with (Chris Wormley) but I just don't know that he's consistent enough. Wormley has to make more plays instead of just flashing." -- AFC scout on the Michigan DT
The skinny: Wormley, a senior, has the athleticism and explosiveness to become a consistently disruptive interior defender, and I understand what this scout is seeing. Wormley has the athletic ability to play an end spot in base packages or become a full-time three technique, but teams will be watching to see if he can match his athletic traits with a consistent pass rush before they determine where to slot him.